MOSCOW, Nov. 17 (UPI) -- There are no obstacles to Russian energy giant Gazprom forming a joint partnership with Slovak companies for gas deliveries, the Slovak premier said.
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin welcomed his Slovakian counterpart, Robert Fico, to Moscow to discuss energy matters and other issues.
Putin described the energy industry as one that ties both countries together.
"I would like to underscore that Slovakia is one of the most important and reliable elements in the system of transporting Russian energy to European consumers," he said.
A January gas row between Kiev and Moscow created a regional energy crisis as nearly 80 percent of all Russian gas bound for Europe travels currently through Ukraine.
Fico praised the role of Moscow in the regional energy sector, adding the Slovak government sees Russia as a reliable supplier of energy resources.
He went on to say the Slovak gas utility SPP Slovakia signed a long-term gas contract with Russia for the delivery of roughly 230 billion cubic feet per year.
"It is with great pleasure that I note the political decision that we have reached with the prime minister," he said. "There are now no obstacles in the way of Gazprom and Slovakian companies launching a joint venture."